Back to the Future for safety

Sheee’s Baaaackk…….Following a lot of pressure, um, positive encouragement, SJ is back with her first blog since, as she says, “falling off the perch” – see the original blog here at Riskology

Back to the Future for safety

by Sarah Jane Dunsford


30 years ago is a lifetime for some.

Some people in the safety industry state that the change in the safety legislation was the most exciting changes in safety over the last 30 years, well it was supposed to, but the tsunami of changes were yelled from the mountain tops, a bit like the Y2K saga with businesses running for the mountains in terror to prepare for the changes where the changes were a mere ripple in the oceans.

Taking the DeLorean back in time in 1989 – we wore flat tops, listened to the Beastie Boys and wore double denim.

If you ask me, ‘what’s changed’ the answer could be not much – my favourite shoes are a pair of knee high flat tops and who doesn’t love singing ‘fight for your right’ while doing the housework!

Back to the Future II had Marty McFly, Doc and Jennifer travel in their awesome time machine to 2015, but little did they know that some of their predictions have also helped the safety industry to get with the program and out from behind the table.

Virtual glasses

Is Marty wearing google glasses at the breakfast table?

Although not common, they are something that is in the market, and from a safety nerd’s point of view, exciting research is being done with these glasses to do all types of safety training without having to get down and dirty.

Image donning a pair and walking through an incident during investigation training, I say bring it on!

Video calls

Remember when safety meetings had to be held via phone only or face-to-face, there were no other options.

I love the ability to skype or video call people from other offices to have a committee meeting, or to discuss important safety issues.

Microwave Meals

In the film it shows a 12 second hydrator plate, which grows into a meal-sized pizza.

Although we don’t have that, we have microwave meals and the dehydrated foods for those who are on foot and in remote areas, for example hikers and soldiers.  They are light, full of nutrients and easy to hydrate to eat so a great safety improvement for those travelling on foot.

So what did the film get wrong?  Well, we are not all flying around in cars, like the DeLorean, and with the increasing emphasis on environmental impact I don’t know if this will really “take off”.

Hoverboards would not only be awesome but would reduce the wear and tear on your body from the traditional skateboarding, with a much smoother ride. Surprisingly a company is looking at launching a prototype this year.

Marty got wet in the film, and his jacket dried itself and the laces tied themselves up. A few weeks ago I borrowed a jacket from a friend which had heaters in the breast pockets, so we are getting there, but not quite yet.

Imagine shoes that lace themselves up, no more tripping, no more ‘ban the lace’ at mine sites and pregnant women wouldn’t have to struggle to bend over and do up their laces.

Work that involved a bit of a splash, just get out and bam your dried in a jiffy.

One thing the film emphasised too much was the fax machine.

They are so five minutes ago! When someone asks me if they can fax something to me my head tilts to one side and the look of confusion answers their question.

Little did they know that smartphones, tablets and the family of ‘i’s would take the world by storm, I’d love to see what the predictions are for the next 30 years!

The technology is moving at such a fast pace and the biggest thing we need to do in the industry is keep up.

If you’d like to know more about how Riskology can help you keep pace and even get ahead, please contact us.

Safety Nerd

Owner and Principal Consultant at Riskology
I’ve been in safety my whole career. Well nearly my whole career, I started off as a secretary for a recruitment company, then dabbled in HR whilst stumbling onto safety, which I fell head over heels ….literally in love (I know safety nerd alert) with safety after reading the book Lessons from Longford by Anthony Hopkins at the age of 19 and haven’t looked back since. I had a few friends that had been permanently injured in their early 20s and my Dad nearly lost his foot in a workplace accident when I was a twinkle in his eye and the Lessons from Longford book made so much sense to me. I started my life in safety knee high to a grasshopper working for Aristocrat in the 90’s, a gaming machine company in Sydney where I introduced national safety handbooks, alerts, industry focus groups and decided this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; during this time I also headed off to Uni and completed an MBA specialising in industrial relations, the closest qualification at the time related to safety, since then there’s been an explosion of courses so I then got my teeth into a masters of safety. I then went onto a safety role at Coca Cola Amatil and tackled the logistics of ensuring multiple sites were compliant from call centres to sales to manufacturing workers. This was an interesting time when new manufacturing plants were opening and becoming fully automated, never a dull moment in the world of safety. I’m a bit of a car buff so then moved into a safety role at Inchcape, you know the guys that own Subaru. I was looking after the safety for 45 sites and came up with some great strategies to get them all confident and running with safety. After saving my employers in total over $1.5million in workers comp and setting up some great strategies I decided to jump ship and moved away from the big smoke for love. That was a couple of years ago now and that’s when Riskology was born. I love helping other businesses create safer workplaces helping them through the minefield of legislation with simple easy solutions with the end goal of making workplaces safer. The safety industry has changed significantly in recent years, with new legislation and tougher penalties. Small businesses are expected to comply just as much as large businesses, that’s where I come in, helping to bridge the gap and cut through the jargon. Safety doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room, good safety practices is good for business. Qualifications Master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety Master’s degree in Business Industrial Relations Accredited Lead Auditor Graduate Certificate Health and Safety Management Systems Cert IV – Workplace Training, OHS, HR(and Dip), Secretarial

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